MID MAY is M.A.I. day for the multinational corporations. With the signing of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, the global economy will relegate 'national sovereignty to the dustbin of history.
Over the past 30 months, organised by the O.E.C.D. the 29 wealthiest countries have drawn up new rules to penalise restrictions placed in the way of the huge multinational corporations. It will effectively "invalidate all international and domestic law regarding environmental, social and labour rights. Countries will not be able to opt out once it is signed,: for 20 years [Schnews* 31-10-97].
All the leftist and national liberation lobbying for 'regulation' by "their" Scots parliament or 'peoples' government will be rendered useless. Multinationals will gain the right to sue national governments for even debating issues which could harm their profit and investments. More favourable 'worker protection', public safety and environmental safeguard legislation will be abandoned. The alternative is to risk a flight of investment, as the multinationals gang up, and recession.
The trade agreement in North America has shown what will happen. The Canadian Government was sued by the Ethyl Corporation for $367 million for banning the use of the pollutant gasoline additive, MMT [Schnews*]. What's more, president Clinton's recent trip to Africa underlined that in the new era of economic 'liberalisation', what aid that is dispensed will be tied to removing trade restrictions, with countries that are 'self sufficient' going the way of North Korea.
Global resistance can undermine this 'real domination of capital'. On Ist February international action took place in Columbia, Mexico, Haiti, Spain, Ireland, Germany and South Korea. Schnews [6-2-98] reported that the grounds of the home of Moody- Stuart, Group Managing Director of Royal Dutch Shell in Hassocks, Sussex , was invaded. It illustrated that those with real power can be made 'visible' to protest. On Feb. 23rd activists linked to the People's Global Action met to co-ordinate resistance. Protests are planned at the House of Commons on May 13th and a global street party on Sat. 16th May is planned around a People's Summit in Birmingham against the G8 world leaders meeting [info 0121-632-6909].
Resistance, however, will be futile if it is based around demands for 'national sovereignty'. As the President of the 10 million strong peasant movement put it "MAI is the final consummation of collective colonialism.." - only an international outlook linking 'protest from below' can now challenge capitalism.
THE PUBLICITY generated by John Prescott's 'icing' at the Brit awards courtesy of Chumbawamba's Danbert Nobocon may have dried up, but companies such Polygram continue to pay £3 a hour for 12 hours packing their CDs.
Meanwhile, a spate of oven-baked 'terra-ism' has been reviving, with a certain John Peppar of Proctor & Gamble, getting spiced up with a pie in his face at another awards ceremony! In Brussels, Microsoft monopolist, Bill Gates went 'java' after his pieing by the 30 strong, international brigade - patisserie, who stated "we are commercial terrorists and the pie is symbolic. The victim is only injured in his self-esteem ". Pie today, expropriation tomorrow !
AFTER 28 months of industrial action, the Liverpool Dockers have settled their dispute with Mersey Docks and Harbour Company (MDHC) due to the enormous odds stacked against them by the British Labour Government and the leaders of the Dockers' own union - the TGWU.
Although the British Government is the main shareholder in MDHC they refused to intervene in the dispute and even local Labour MPs wouldn't discuss the issue. More damaging but just as predictable was the behaviour of the TGWU who undermined the entire dispute by their lack of support. This included their refusal to launch a national campaign challenging the dismissals and paying only £13 per week strike pay per Docker . The leader of the TGWU, Bill Morris, showed his true self when he said that the dockers' supporters 'with their message of false hope to the dockers and their families, did more than anyone to prolong the agony.'
The Dockers have pledged to fight on against Social Injustice, calling a national march in London for May 30th and are still publishing their paper. The lessons of this dispute could not be clearer - governments govern and unions act as a go between to balance the status quo of captalism - and the needs of the working class are unimportant to either..Dockers Charter c/o 19 Scorton St., Liverpool L6 4AS 0151 207 3388
GREAT NEWS! The Gandalf Three were freed on bail on 27 March, pending their appeal. The 3 editors of Green Anarchist magazine had been jailed in November for 3 years each. They were found guilty of "conspiracy to incite persons unknown to commit criminal damage", because of articles in Green & Brown Anarchist.
Meanwhile, the trial on the same charges of Robin Webb, and possibly Paul Rogers, starts on 27 April at Portsmouth. A demo is scheduled for outside the court on the first day.
CI disagrees with Green Anarchist's tendency to dismiss class struggle. But it is vitally important to resist state censorship of the radical press. <We urge our readers to support the growing solidarity movement by contacting London Gandalf Support Campaign, c/o London Greenpeace, Panther House, 38 Mount Pleasant, London WC1X OAP E mail firstname.lastname@example.org >
*The urge to reader to support the solidarity movement with the GANDALF defendents is under review by the counter info collective since publication of above due to some of the more objectionable views held by one of the defendents
CAMPSFIELD ¥ NINE WEST African asylum seekers go on trial in Oxford on 1 June facing riot charges arising from the revolt at Campsfield detention centre in August 1997. Maximum sentence is 10 years. Info 01865 726804/ 558145.
IN SPAIN dozens of squatted centres continue to defy a state clamp-down which includes recent evictions of a Centre in Mallorca, and the violent eviction of a squatted village in the Pyrenees by 100 armed police.
RAILWAY WORKERS in Italy took strike action in Feb. against plans to privatise the state railway system. Grass roots Unions were due to strike again in March, in what could be a major struggle. Info Umanita Nova.
PEOPLE AGAINST the Monarchy has been formed to organise popular opposition to the Royal Family, particularly during the Queens official visit to Scotland Thursday July 2nd, meet 2pm Parliment Square. P.A.M. not only oppose the rule of the Royals but want all rulers overthrown Info. PAM PO Box 1021, Edinburgh EH8 9PW.
ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, USA. (Oct97) A Ku Klux Klan rally was successfully attacked by anti-racists. The Klan were pelted with stones, bricks, and eggs. Local black youth "confiscated" and burned the Klan`s confederate flags. Despite police and SWAT team protection the Klan had to retreat. They missed the opportunity to enjoy the Radical Fairies kiss-in and other acts of solidarity among the anti-racists.
UNIONS AND community groups in Ontario, Canada called for a strike against public sector cuts in Windsor (Oct'97). Teamsters, teachers, car , construction, casino, postal and public transport workers brought the city to a virtual standstill.
SUCCESSFUL DIRECT action and self organisation marked the "Green and Black Days" held in Tampere, Finland in December - despite a heavy police clampdown.
JAN. 1998 in Usedom, Germany saw 15 Nazi Skinheads attack a group of black people in a local billiard hall, little knowing they were a visiting group of boxers from Cuba. Result- two knock outs for Cuba -without reply!
THE PENSIONERS Rights Campaign who campaign against discrimination on the grounds of age and for better pensions, recently (Dec 97) took over a TV studio, got air time, and also blockaded the Humber Bridge to highlight their campaign. A spokesperson said; "We don`t want to go and stand in Hyde Park and talk... because direct action is the only way to get anywhere."
MEXICO CITY, Mexico. Jan, 1998 saw protesters occupy two radio stations and blockade the stock exchange. They also threw red paint on the outside walls, and demanded that a Zapatista tape be played. This was followed by placing symbolic coffins in the street to highlight the recent deaths of 45 people murdered by death squads in the Chiapas region of Mexico. Mexican embassies in Canada, the USA, and several European countries were picketed in solidarity actions. In the Chiapas region itself 6000 marched in protest.
VIOLENT RIOTS followed recent price increases in food in Zimbabwe. Poor families living in Harare, Gweru, and Masingo continue to riot despite troops being told to shoot to kill. Government greed and corruption is being blamed for the price increases. The Government is blaming white farmers and the International Monetary Fund.
OVER 17,000 workers voted to unionise in New York, USA. (Jan.98) They have been put on compulsory Work Fare Schemes and the City authorities fail to recognise them as workers. Typically working 20 hrs a week for welfare benefits and do not have any work place protection.
ANTI-NUCLEAR movement protesters and residents of Ahaus, Germany mobilise 5,000 people against a train laden with nuclear material.(2 Mar 98) The train was held up for over 13 hrs despite the presence of 30,000 police, riot squads, border guards, and anti-terrorist units. Many clashes took place with police cars smashed up and 700 arrested. The 21 March saw a rally in Munster, near Ahaus, protest against the nuclear shipment and police violence.